Health and Safety

When Kids Are Overweight

June 15, 2011
Tom Canty,Vice President & General Manager Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Believe it or not, 40 percent of kindergartners through eighth-graders – or about half a million kids in New York City are too heavy. One in five kindergarten children is obese.

This has to stop.  With overweight kids, it’s not just that they’re more likely to be taunted and bullied by their classmates it means they’re at risk for diabetes, high blood and high cholesterol.

So, how to help your kids maintain and not gain?

  • Everything in moderation – ice cream on your child’s birthday is a treat; a bowl every night isn’t. Cut out the juice and soda. A 12 ounce can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar; an 8 ounce glass of Minute Maid orange juice has 24 grams. Plain old cold water is better, and if you add some lemon, lime or strawberries it tastes even better.
  • It’s hard in today’s super-sized society to know what’s a proper portion. It’s our job to teach them what’s one serving and that they need to stick to just one helping.
  • Set your own fitness goals and discuss them with your kids. Discuss the benefits you get from exercising, like stress relief and enjoyment of the outdoors.
  • Encourage your child’s interest in sports and not just by watching it on TV. Sign them up for a class in one of their favorite sports and have them teach you how to do some of the fundamental drills at home.

Above all, focus on the ways to incorporate healthier foods and more exercise and not on your child’s weight or appearance. The whole family should makeover its habits to be healthier and us grown-ups need to lead by example.

June 14, 2011

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